Chimera states in spatiotemporal dynamical systems have been investigated in physical, chemical, and biological systems, and have been shown to be robust against random perturbations. How do chimera states achieve their robustness? We uncover a self-adaptation behavior by which, upon a spatially localized perturbation, the coherent component of the chimera state spontaneously drifts to an optimal location as far away from the perturbation as possible, exposing only its incoherent component to the perturbation to minimize the disturbance. A systematic numerical analysis of the evolution of the spatiotemporal pattern of the chimera state towards the optimal stable state reveals an exponential relaxation process independent of the spatial location of the perturbation, implying that its effects can be modeled as restoring and damping forces in a mechanical system and enabling the articulation of a phenomenological model. Not only is the model able to reproduce the numerical results, it can also predict the trajectory of drifting. Our finding is striking as it reveals that, inherently, chimera states possess a kind of "intelligence" in achieving robustness through self-adaptation. The behavior can be exploited for the controlled generation of chimera states with their coherent component placed in any desired spatial region of the system.
Yao, N., Huang, Z. G., Ren, H. P., Grebogi, C., & Lai, Y. C. (2019). Self-adaptation of chimera states. Physical Review E, 99(1). https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevE.99.010201